Cooper headed to NFL

After three seasons spent in Baton Rouge, LSU defensive backs coach has taken a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Ron Cooper is leaving Baton Rouge to take a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette confirmed on Wednesday evening.

After three seasons with the Tigers, Cooper both recruited and coached up an elite crop of talent in the defensive backfield - from former first-round draft pick Patrick Peterson to future first-round draft pick Morris Claiborne.

Cooper coached the last two winners of the Thorpe Award (Peterson, Claiborne) and the Bednarik Award (Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu).

This past December, Mathieu and Claiborne became the first cornerback teammates to lock down spots as AP All-Americans. Claiborne (SEC Coaches) and Mathieu (AP) also each picked up SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Mathieu, who Cooper used as an extra defensive back in nickel and dime packages, even tripped to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation - a rarity for a sophomore, let alone a defensive back.

In 2011, LSU's secondary totaled 16 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries and 12 forced fumbles as the Tigers led the nation in turnover margin (+1.69) and ranked fifth in total interceptions with 18.

The move ends a nine-year stretch for Cooper in the SEC. He arrived at LSU in 2009 after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at South Carolina. In 2003, Cooper was the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State.

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